I have been corresponding with a Canadian gentleman who was planning on visiting the country and he came to stay with us this week. When he arrived in the country he bought himself a mean machine which is now parked in my living room. Dominicans always park their motorbikes inside the house.
I sent him directions to get here, but he said not to worry as he had GPS. Not sure I would trust that here but he seemed unconcerned. An hour before he was due to arrive he phoned to say he was lost. He knew the name of the town he was in, but couldn't find his way to the next town. I explained and the phone call ended. Thirty minutes later he phones again. As you can see, his bike has big saddlebags on the back, and he called to tell me a lorry had hit one of them from behind, knocked him off the bike and then the lorry had run into the car in front. He had to go to the police station so asked me where it was and I told him. Danilo then called a friend in the town where he was and sent him to the police station to translate. The friend called and Canadian was nowhere to be seen. I called Canadian who confirmed he was at the police station and friend on the other line confirmed he wasn't. The situation was resolved by speaking to a policeman who said yes Canadian was there and no it was not the police station in the town Canadian thought he was in.....he was in fact in a totally different town which was why he had been unable to follow my directions! All was satisfactorily sorted out by Danilo who went to the police station and resolved everything and sent Canadian to our house with a Dominican on the back of the bike to shout in his ear telling him where to go. Much better than a GPS.
Since he has been here I have taken him out and about a little to see the area, including this beautiful river which is the one I went to with Chivirico and his family a while ago. The one that took hours and hours to get to which I now find out is only 30 minutes away from us!
The countryside around us is stunning, and so clean with such respect for the environment. However we drove only a couple of minutes from the river and came across this.
At times like this I really wish I was a decent photographer. Just behind us was a beautiful clean river. In the background are lovely mountains. But we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of an enormous rubbish dump which had been set on fire so there were mounds of smouldering plastic everywhere and an appalling stink. And centre stage was a herd of cows, feeding off whatever goodies they could find. An incredible sight.
We carried on driving down the back roads through tiny hamlets and up and down hills and we came across a settlement of around 30 wooden houses. There was also a school and I explained how attendance at school, instead of being a half day was now all day - in some schools anyway. This is obviously proving to be a tad too much for the poor teachers as the kids were playing in the playground and the teacher was fast asleep in front of the school. Playground supervision Dominican style.
Once again the Dominican Republic can't help but make you smile.